Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Taking the WEEE, and more banks

So 4 years past its proposition, 2 and a bit years after it was supposed to happen, and 18 months past the EU deadline the new WEEE directive is finally upon us. For those not familiar with this unfortunate acronym it stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment and acts as an amendment to the Environment Act. What's it for? Well to quote the DTI

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) aims to minimise the impact of electrical and electronic goods on the environment, by increasing re-use and recycling and reducing the amount of WEEE going to landfill.
What a good idea how do you do that?
It seeks to achieve this by making producers responsible for financing the collection, treatment, and recovery of waste electrical equipment, and by obliging distributors to allow consumers to return their waste equipment free of charge.
Well that's what the DTI say what does the actual SI state? Okay this is worded well, I like reading this sort of stuff and I'm finding it heavy going.

First of not all of the regulations have come into force, some started on the 2nd January, some will start on 1st April, and some on 1st July.

Differing rules for private and non-private households (businesses) for producers of (W)EEE- private households are financed by the producers, businesses are only funded if the product was bought on or after 13th August 2005, or if not that they're buying a new product to replace it from the supplier. Unless the producer and user come to a separate agreement (p14). But there's yet more differences for distributors of EEE (that's the stores whom most of us actually purchase from) for Take-back (p24):
A distributor who supplies new EEE to a person shall ensure that WEEE from private households can be returned to him free of charge [I like it so far] and on a one-to-one basis by that person [that is direct to the distributor], provided that any such WEEE—
(a) is of equivalent type to, and
(b) has fulfilled the same function as,
the supplied equipment.
Woah there nellie, they'll take it back provided you buy the equivalent product from them. But what about the distributors?
A distributor may return WEEE from private households free of charge to the system
So private households and distributors have the same rights in returning items to the producers, with (other) businesses getting the short end of the stick and private households getting a poke in the eye if they try to return goods to where they most likely bought them from.

So what about stuff that businesses bought before the August cut-off? Simple they've got to fund the cost.

Right at the end you get the Explanatory Notes that propose to make sense of the gibberish you've just read try this (p66):
(Distributor obligations and rights) provides that a distributor shall be responsible for providing an in-store take back service for customers in relation to specified WEEE
Yeah provided they buy something from the distributor; missed that bit out didn't you!

Banks are in the news again, after bumper profits they've decided to get greedy(-er) If you want a bank account you might have to pay for the privilege.

Let me get this straight; we give you money; you take that money and use it to invest in various markets; you make money; you lose money, obviously more make then lose; you pay us peanuts as a reward for allowing you to do this, and penalise us heavily when we want to take a loan; and now you want us to pay you for the right just to keep our money with you? Are you nuts? Fantastic, just bloody fantastic! We've enough people socking money away in mattresses because they don't trust the banks, let's add some more to the list and watch their life savings disappear in one robbery or fire.

They've already encouraged us to depend on their services; pay by direct debit, have your wages paid directly to your account, transfer money electronically; and now they've got us all doing that they want to charge us for it. Trouble is I can see this as a cartel, you won't be able to move your money from a fee-charging bank to a non fee-charging bank because their won't be one. All for one and one for all.


Dan H said...

As an update to this, my employer has finally managed to jump through all the hoops and register as a producer and distributor of WEEE. (Jokes abound.) The thing is, we make and sell our product world-wide, and these products are occasionally faulty, which means we sometimes accept returns from the rest of the world. The thing is, if we receive a return from abroad, inspect the faulty goods, and find that it is irreparable (for example because the device has been dropped from a great height onto a concrete floor, which has actually happened before), and have to dispose of the parts, then what we are doing is importing WEEE from overseas, which is now a criminal offence. WTF are we supposed to do? We can't send an engineer out to a customer site with a test kit to determine whether every fault can be repaired before agreeing to ship the goods back in. The DTI advice is unhelpful on this point.


FlipC said...

Hmm yet another suggestion that this was written by suppliers/distributors rather then producers. I do note one thing though; recalling that I'm not a lawyer. One of the definitions of producer is as someone who "imports or exports electrical and electronic equipment on a professional basis into a member State;"
Now technically until it's been examined it's still EEE so you're not importing any WEEE into a member state (ie ourselves) and thus you're covered. How does that sound?